Rapporteur backs asylum for Snowden, calls on Europe to create asylum procedure for whistleblowers

Sylvain Waserman (France, ALDE), Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on improving the protection of whistleblowers throughout Europe, has commented on Edward Snowden's recent statement: “It is time for the creation of an asylum procedure specific to whistleblowers. For several years now, the protection of whistleblowers has become a real litmus test of democracy in our society. It shows whether our democracies are mature enough to deal with situations that can sometimes challenge their own workings. Asylum procedures are a good example: the criteria in use over the last few decades are not well suited to the new challenges of a connected world where whistleblowing is becoming a major democratic issue.”

Mr Waserman will present his draft report to the Assembly on 1 October. The text, already approved by PACE’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, proposes among other things to amend asylum legislation to take into account the case of whistleblowers. As part of the preparation of his report, Mr Waserman organised a "48-hour whistleblower challenge" at the Council of Europe, with a key moment being an exchange of views with Edward Snowden by video-conference.

Mr Waserman concluded: "I therefore fully endorse the ‘case study’ presented by the previous rapporteur on the protection of whistleblowers, Pieter Omtzigt, in his 2015 Assembly report which backs asylum for Edward Snowden.”